Wednesday, April 14, 2010
An elderly woman drags her walker behind her as she trudges through a field, occasionally glancing at an unassuming building behind her while Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" plays eerily in the background. The woman comes to an old barbed-wire fence, hurling the walker over it with every ounce of strength, proceeding to crawl through it. An alarm sounds.
Two men dressed in nurses' uniforms come sprinting from the building, clearing the barbed-wire fence with a single bound. They easily catch up to the woman, at which point she yells at them, and the scene concludes.
This might seem like the ideal set-up for consecutive scenes that are just as murky and confusing, but Tom Huckabee's "Carried Away" (2009) is a delightful movie that is refreshingly down-to-earth yet hilariously distant.
The movie's action centers on Ed Franklin (Gabriel Horn), an aspiring young Hollywood actor coming home to visit his family in Fort Worth, Texas. Ed's mother, Jean (Morgana Shaw), welcomes him at the airport, catching him up on family news.
Rex (Mark Walters) is Ed's cigar-chomping, mustached father whose good intentions for his family are limited by his own selfishness. Davy (Tyler Corie) plays Ed's soft-spoken younger brother, who is facing criminal charges for selling drugs, while Steve (Bryan Massey) plays Ed's unforgivingly pugilistic old brother.
By painting an elaborate depiction of the individuals, Huckabee gives the cast all the fuel they need as they drive madly across Texas in search of, well, each other.
Juli Erickson, who plays Ed's grandmother, remains comically determined to break out of her confined life, though she is often spaced out throughout the film. When Ed visits his grandmother after coming home, he is disturbed to learn she loathes the nursing home, claiming abuse from the orderlies.
Because her son, Rex, sold her home (unbeknownst to her), Granny has nowhere else to live, until Ed comes up with a new living arrangement: She can live with him at his Hollywood apartment. What follows is a nursing home break-out and the makings for a cross-country road trip back to California. While Ed and Granny make it out of Fort Worth successfully, Rex takes it on himself to bring his mother and son back to reality, while Steve and Davy ride along.
"Carried Away" portays one family's struggle to come to terms with who they are and what they've become, staying thoroughly entertaining and humorous throughout, even during the more poignant interludes.
The screening of "Carried Away" is Saturday, April 17, at 7:20 p.m.